Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bennett at 3 and a Half Years

Bennett turned 3.5 last month and I've been reflecting more and more on where each boy is at in their development and I so miss recording it. Poor Crosby has literally had nothing documented of his first year. In any case, I want to keep up at least every 6 months with where they're at. So, here's what I know about Bennett right now and some of my favorite pictures of him from the past 6 months.

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Bennett is SUCH a three year old. Happy one minute, melting down the next. He has a whine that sounds to me like nails on a chalkboard. I'm pretty bad at just giving him WHATEVER it takes to stop that sound immediately. Bad mom, I know. When he's happy though? He will light up your life.

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He's sweet and snuggly and easy going. He loves to play with trains, legos, "shooters" (ugh), balls, tinker toys, the matching game, Sequence, Jenga, Go Fish, puzzles and books. He loves being read to and really enjoys getting new books from the library. His favorite thing is probably dressing up in costumes. He mostly prefers to be Elsa or anything that involves a dress. I think he's the most beautiful princess.

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I love that he's fully his own person. He's not easily influenced by what others want to do or play with. He just wants what he wants and he's not afraid to express that. He LOVES being around others and playing with friends, but if they're not doing what he wants, that's fine, too - he'll do it anyway! He's learning to share with his baby brother, a task proving much harder than it seems :)

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He's tracing larger letters (ones that take up a whole page) and can recognize some numbers but not many letters yet. He loves to do "school work" as long as I don't help him or ask him any questions. So.... basically I'm choosing not to worry terribly about what he knows or doesn't know. I figure he'll get there eventually. He can count to 13 without help and his 1:1 correspondence with counting is up to about 5. He's dressing himself with ease now with the exception of his socks and shoes.

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It would be a marvelous thing to report full potty trained status but alas, I cannot. He can pee in the potty without assistance, but he's still pooping in his pants. Again, I'm trying to remember that he will get there. Bennett cannot be pushed into something he doesn't want to do. He's stubborn and self-assured. Bribing isn't working.

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Bennett likes to change his clothes about 6 times a day and prefers pajamas to all other clothing choices. But, he also likes to accessorize sometimes. Hats, scarves, gloves. He enjoys them all.

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He has enjoyed gymnastics and is looking forward to soccer in the spring. He LOVES preschool and always looks forward to going.

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He's adventurous. He'll try pretty much anything once. He may never do it again after that, but he's always game to try. He does try to keep up with Max in regards to sports and physical activity and in most cases, he can easily keep up. He's a very physical child and needs to exert his energy daily. Sometimes this means at bedtime he's going crazy and jumping and climbing because he didn't get it out earlier. Whoops!

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The child will eat ANYTHING. He's not picky, although lately he's shown much more preference for certain foods (toast, cereal with milk, fruits, chicken and rice, etc..) as opposed to just eating whatever I give him. He's a pretty adventurous eater and will try anything once. He likes spicy food and hummus and things that Max won't touch.
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A terrible photo for its quality, BUT this is my boy on Christmas morning. Pure joy.

I really GET Ben. He's completely my child. Looks like me, acts like me. It's easy for me to empathize with ALL of those big emotions because I have them, too. This makes the relationship between Ben and me pretty easy. I don't raise my voice or lose my temper as often with him. He brings out the patient side of me (well, most of the time - I'm so far from perfect it's not even funny).

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He'll say his best friend is Kira and he's been hugging and kissing Crosby A LOT lately. He tells me he loves me and says he needs a hug often. He's starting to not want kisses anymore (thanks a lot, Max!) but I sneak them in and he doesn't seem to mind. He loves to help, sit on my lap and be by my side.
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I'll leave you with my favorite photo from the past 6 months. A Daddy and his boys. Bennett kissing him. Bennett, giving love. That's how I always think of him, so this is the perfect last image.

Ben is treasured in our family and I often think he'll be the link for the bond between his brothers. Because, I believe, anyone can get along with Ben. He's just so likable. And loving. He provides something in our family that is irreplaceable and I hope he feels loved and valued every single day.

Monday, February 23, 2015

House Tour: Kitchen

Our kitchen was my least and most favorite thing about this house when we bought it. I hated it for everything it was.... maple cabinets, gross smells coming from the cabinets, hideous blue laminate countertops (Are they laminate? I don't even know - they're just ugly). BUT, I LOVED it for its potential. The layout is great and there's lots of storage. Plus, I could totally picture it all white with new countertops and some subway tile etc.. We just had to move in, clean it up and redo the whole kitchen! Easy, right?


Here's where we're at now, about 6 months after moving in:

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Here's the view from the playroom.

Pros: Lots of light, easy access to the kids, and open floor plan!

Cons: Everything else.

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We have this eat-in dining area with a lot of extra storage. Don't mind those seedlings we're working on for our garden. They're not usually up there. This extra counter space and cabinetry we wouldn't be able to function without. It's awesome!

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Our pots and pans also hang over there. I've always loved displaying these and our cookbooks up top there.

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This is the far end of the kitchen towards the formal dining room.

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This is standing back by the fridge.

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Lots of lovely blue counter space! The space is great! The counters... not so much.

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Here is standing back the other way. In the past 6 months we've done a few things. The dishwasher and cooktop are new, the island has been painted this green color and given some amazing hardware. That's it though! SO much more to do!

Some of my favorite things:
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This little area is just really decorated and colorful and I love it.

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That's it for the kitchen! I'm HOPING to start the white paint this weekend so fingers crossed I'll have a good "after" shot soon-ish.

Sorry for the crappy iPhone pics. Life, you know?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our Master Bedroom

I feel like our room is done enough (as done as it will be for awhile now) to show you all!

When we bought our house this room was a lovely pale pink color. Which matched the rosy pink carpet quite well. The bathroom is also pink, with a pink countertop to boot! So, while I don't mind some pink accents, this room was clearly taking pink to a whole new level. I painted in a creamy white shade and did a gray/blue (shocking right? I mean, I never use this color!) accent wall behind the bed.
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I know the photos are too big. Sorry! We still need to do some (a lot) of things to this space. Aside from new carpet (or hardwood? We can't decide) we also need new baseboards, doors and casing. I'll show off the bathroom another time. Perhaps while we're redoing it as a before/after. I'd also like to do a few smaller things. I'd love a gold frame around my book wreath and I'd love some frames surrounding the window for our black and white family photos. The dresser needs some decorating love as well.

My favorites about this space are the bedding and the large window and our walk in closet. The space feels the perfect combo of warm and light to me. But the carpet is disgusting and needs to go. And the brown doors are not my fav either. Baby steps!

More of the house to come soon I hope!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What I Read: January

I would like to start this post by saying that this month felt like I was inundated with goodness. Just pure amazingness ALL THE TIME. Some fantastic books this month, plus I listened to the Serial podcast (devoured it in 2 days - I couldn't stop listening) AND we watched season one of Transparent on Amazon. I am loving that show! So, now that you all know I have no life other than reading, listening to and watching things, let's get started with the books of the month, shall we? 

This was my book club's selection for the month. I thought it was a cute story until the very end when it completely lost me. I actually feel like I should re-read the ending because wha-the-wha? I have no idea what just happened there and it was sort of abruptly trying to cram all of these little golden nuggets in at the end... it didn't need that. The nuggets were implied. I felt like it had some potential to wrap up beautifully and it didn't. 

One of my favorite books of all time now. This is a story of a young girl who dies and her family's journey up to that point and beyond. So beautifully written and haunting and thought provoking. I would highly recommend reading this book. Or, listening to it! I think I got SO much more out of listening to it. I have a tendency to skim and when someone else is reading, you cannot skim so you have the benefit of hearing EVERY single word. It was a perfect experience for me. 

Oh, Lena Dunham. This was exactly what I thought it would be. It's really just one woman's experience with coming into her womanhood in this world we live in. I realized that she's not my favorite person to read about (or watch on TV - I really tried to like "Girls" but just don't) so it was a little long and tedious reading this. By the end I was fighting through it just to check it off my list. Darn! I wanted to like it, but I didn't. 

Sometime after Christmas I realized that I hadn't read much over the break and I had received a lot of non-fiction for Christmas. I started the Lena Dunham book but put it down because I wanted a good story and everything I had received wasn't cutting it. So, I put on my big girl panties and started "Outlander". This is a long book, like 700 pages long. But I had heard rave reviews and I figured there's no time like the present. It did take me about 3 weeks to finish (I read in on my phone while I nursed Crosby and finished 2 other books during that time as well) but I really loved it. I was pretty riveted the whole time. It's a fabulous story AND it fits into a category of a reading challenge I took on for the year! 

That might be hard to read... but "Outlander" completes the category of "A book in a genre I don't typically read". Bonus - I liked it! 

Ritchie read this and wanted me to read it so we could talk about it. He loved it. I LOVED the first half and the second half I was like..... "What the hell? Wait, what?" A lot. And the ending sort of brought it all back around, but I still felt like it was really botched together weirdly. And I'm not sure if it's Ian McEwan's writing style because this is my first time reading him, but this book went ON and ON about things that I didn't see the relevance in. Ritchie didn't feel that way at all though and he was able to read into every part and tie it together poetically. He's smarter than me, though. Duh. 

Another audiobook! I also loved the listening experience of this book. At first it was a little hard to follow because it has many different narrators but soon you get the rhythm and it all makes sense. This book has so many important themes and sub-morals but at its core, it's a story about love and community. Amongst that there are immigrants in Delaware in current times and their experience with everything from not knowing the language to just being outright ignored or bullied. It made me think about my own perceptions and judgements. I recommend this book with a warning that it's not a quick story line. It's a lot of rich character development and more than it's a story, it's just following 7 months in time. It does climax and get intense towards the very very end, so hang in there. The message is worth the slow pace. 

This was the 3rd book I've read by Liane Moriarty and boy do I love her more and more! Great characters and plot and I'm usually riveted (The Husband's Secret wasn't as riveting for me, but I still really enjoyed it!) I was up past midnight last night just to finish this book and the ending was SO fantastic! I won't say much about it because it's a murder mystery (a comical one) but it's really great! 

Phew! I'm going to post this a few days before Feb even starts because after 7 books I'm just done reading for a few days. I need a little time to clear my head before starting my Feb book club book. But this month caught me up on my goal! I'm 30 weeks in and 30 books down. Yay! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

What I Read: December

A young girl falls over in convulsions and it begins a string of weird similar instances with other girls in the high school. I read it in a day. Easy, quick read. The plot was just ok for me and the ending was lacking. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I wouldn't even say I liked it all that much. 

A FAVORITE Christmas story of mine. A must read! This was my 3rd or 4th time reading it and I loved it just as much as the first time. 

Really sweet story! Much like the first, a little sappier, but still enjoyable and worth a read. 

Absolutely riveting. It took me a while to get into the writing style and Shriver's overly (in my opinion) descriptive writing style but once I got into it I couldn't put it down. So disturbing and so sadly relevant. I never want to send my children to school now. I think this book is completely worth the read. 

I'm officially 1/2 way through with 26.5 weeks down in my 52 weeks and I've read 23 books. So, I'm a little behind but STILL! 23 books since June 30. The goal for me was to simply rekindle my love of reading and I've certainly done that. My days don't feel complete without a book to read now and I love that. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Book Gift Guide

I'm giving quite a few books this year (duh).

Here are my favorite (and, I think, gift worthy) books that I read in 2014.

These aren't books that came out in 2014, so this may or may not feel relevant in your world. But, it's relevant here in my little world and isn't that what blogging is all about?

Behold, my favorite books that I read this year:

This book is like a blanket. Or a hug. Or warm coffee on a crisp morning. Or just something you really would enjoy. This book is that. 

Still probably one of my favorite stories ever. 

A close race with "Me Before You" for first place in the love genre for me. I still get chills when I think of the ending. That's probably pretty dramatic, but who are we kidding? I've always had a flair for the dramatics. 

Once I got into this one (and it took me a little bit...) I could NOT. STOP. READING. IT. I still think about it. I also never want to send my kids to school. An important book but also a gripping page turner. Not to mention the writing is incredible. Winner. Although, be careful whom you gift this to. It's about a sensitive subject and one that many people harbor strong feelings towards. Tread lightly. 

And here is one more that I haven't read, but is on my short list. It's on a ton of lists this year as one of THE books to read and gets some pretty rave reviews. I can't personally recommend it, of course - but it's worth mentioning. 

Happy Reading! I'd love to know which books you're gifting this year (or which books you've added to your wish list!) and what your favorite reads of 2014 were! Geek out with me! 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Crosby at 8 Months

Poor, sweet third child. I just realized yesterday that I didn't even save the outfit that I brought him home from the hospital in. Nor can I remember which outfit it was. Whoops. I suppose therapy makes you a better person. 

I'm going to briefly cover months 4, 5, 6 and 7 because we are now past the 8th month mark and I can barely remember anything. 

Month 4:

Crosby started tripod sitting! He also was sleep trained this month and began going from nursing approximately 12 times a night to just once. I'm now a much happier mother. Crosby also officially rolls at this point and will not stay on his back for anything, including sleep. He's lucky he's my third child because I'm not nearly as nervous about this as I would have been with Maxton. 

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Look at that cute baby. That's what we call him. Cute baby. Like... why won't cute baby stop crying? And, what shall we give cute baby for dinner tonight? 

Month 5:

I believe this is when we embarked on solids. Also, full time sitting! Tummy time and being put down ever is not enjoyable for Crosby at this age. Also, this was the time that we discovered that he wasn't really gaining weight. He also didn't love to eat solids, so that wasn't especially helpful. Lots of stress and worry about his heart since weight loss or no weight gain is a sign of trouble. He had no other signs of concerns at that point, but still. WORRY. You don't generally worry about things as much with each child (or I don't anyway) but when your baby has something that you haven't experienced with all of your other children, you worry like he's your first. Anyway, lots of weight checks and Dr visits and waiting and trying to feed him solids that he gags and vomits from. But we're still sleeping and sitting and having to hold him all the live long day. 

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Rosy cheeked and darling. 

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Month 6:
Crosby remembered that eating all night long was glorious and fattening him up so he went back to waking frequently. I was feeling so stressed about his weight gain that I couldn't let him cry so I fed him every time he woke. That quickly spiraled into about every 1.5-2 hours. My timing is fuzzy on this though... I think this went on for about a month? Anyway, he was checked and he had lost weight right before all of this happened so I just know I was down to feed him whenever. We also started baby led weaning for feeding since he blatantly prefers to feed himself. He'll now eat beans and peas and rice and bananas and avocados and all sorts of things as long as he is in charge of putting them in his mouth. The inability to put him down is now in full force. I carry him ALL DAY LONG. I chant things like, "the days are long, the years are short" and, "he's my third.. I know this won't be like this forever" and, "one day I'll wish for this back" while I try to hold it together. Not putting a baby down ever is pretty much exhausting. But so is listening to him scream if I attempt anything without holding him, so usually I just hold him or sit next to him while he plays. Thank God he naps well. Two naps, one around 9 am for 1.5-3 hours and another one around 1pm for another 1.5-3 hours, depending on the day. He's starting to get up on all fours and scoot backwards. He's REALLY good at watching Christmas movies with me. 

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This is because I'm not holding him. 

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It got worse because I continued to not hold him. 

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This one is because he likes to make a liar out of me. 

7 Months:

He had his heart checked and it was FINE! Well, not fine, but not any worse than usual, so YAY! His lack of fattiness was not due to his heart. AND, he had gained 1/2 a pound. It was a great day. So, we went back to sleep training and now he's back to just one feeding a night. We keep upping the solids and I feed him very frequently during his waking hours. He's trying really hard to army crawl and he squeaks and babbles and makes loud noises almost constantly. He's our loudest child and that is really saying something. 

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Picking his pumpkins. 

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Eating his broccoli! He LOVES broccoli! 

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We don't call him cute baby for no reason. 

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This is a picture of him being very very loud. Can't you hear him? He's saying, "fuggedabout it...."

Hot damn, I love this kid. Before I put him in bed I cradle him and sing to him and he is so calm and sweet and gurgles little baby loves at me and I think it's not possible to love someone as much as I love him. He is baby gold. 
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